Is Your Small Business Ready For Google Hangouts on Air?
What are Google Hangouts on Air?
Hangouts On Air can be compared to your own TV show. They can be viewed by anyone and they are automatically recorded to your YouTube channel. You can invite individuals or circles to join the hangout and up to 10 people (including you) can be on at one time. You cannot invite the public to join your show on air; however, they are able to be viewed by everyone. You can also save the On Air Hangout and share a link to it via social media, your blog, and email. Not only can you use it to communicate with contractors and employees, you can use Google Hangouts to create and share content.
How can Google Hangouts help your small business?
Google Hangouts offers a number of features that make it extremely useful for almost any business model. Below are a couple of uses I came up with:
- Increase the Know, Like & Trust Factor We all know by now that people do business with people they know, like and trust. And for us small business owners this means they need to know us. What better way is there than seeing us on video, during a live event?!
- Content Creation Essentially what we’re doing is creating content. And probably the most engaging type of content!
- Product Demonstrations For businesses who create products, HOAs are a wonderful way to demonstrate these products. For example, the computer retailer, Dell, used Google Hangouts to manage customer service and technical errors. This personal approach takes customer service to a whole new level. A company that sells beauty products launched a new product by holding beauty classes prior to the launch.
- Group Coaching For coaches, trainers or any service provider who would like to deliver a training program to an unlimited number of participants. Just last week Youtube announced a way where we now can live stream HOAs privately. This opened huge monetizing options. In other words we can make people pay for a course and only those folks will be able to watch the live show as well as the recording.
Google Hangouts provides a number of benefits. From branding your business to making your customers’ experience an exceptional one, adding Google Hangouts to your marketing strategy is good business.
What do I need to know before I get started?
As with anything technical, there’s a few things you need before you get started.
- Webcam: I suggest you get an external webcam. According to Mark Vang, the Logitech c920 is a good choice.
- Headset: I recommend a headset as well, there will be less echo.
- Lighting: This is essential. The better the lighting the better you look on video. Make sure you have a lot of light in front of you and on your side and not one dominant light source behind you, otherwise the camera will try to focus on that one. If you have a window in front of you, close the blinds.
- Practice, practice & practice some more…Just like with anything new, you need a lot of practice. First I recommend you practice by yourself and with some friends. Then, when you feel it’s time (notice I didn’t say ‘when you’re ready?) go ahead and announce your very first Hangout on Air. I suggest you inform people that this is your first ever live event, this way they will be understanding when you face technical issues.
My ‘Learn-N-Play with Sarah on HOA’s’ Series
I did exactly what I described above and launched a ‘Learn-N-Play with Sarah on HOA’ series. 5 sessions in which I discovered this new technology and helped my audience discover it too. And believe me, it was a big step for me! If you know a little bit about me, you know that I’m of the introverted type and appearing in front of camera, broadcast to the whole world is not exactly within my comfort zone. But I announced the series, so I had to go ahead with it 😉
Want to learn from my mistakes?
If you see the potential in this format, I encourage you to find out more about it. My ‘Learn-N-Play’ series might be a good start for you, since you can learn from my mistakes & not make the same ones ! So below I’m listing each session and underneath the mistakes I’ve made. I hope this will help you to get started – and avoid the same mistakes ! 😉
The First Session: Blogging
Mistakes I made in this session: I should have invited a guest. To do this type of Q&A Hangout it’s better to invite a guest you can talk to. I also didn’t fully master the screensharing option and my lighting wasn’t ideal. I had too much light in the back, and not enough on me.
The Second Session: LinkedIn with Jo Saunders from Australia
Mistakes I made in this session: in this session my guest Jo Saunders had bandwidth problems and couldn’t get a good internet connection. Just before going live, her connection dropped and I was completely taken off guard since I had planned for this to be a Q&A session. Learning point: you ALWAYS need a plan B!
The Third Session: E-Mail Marketing with Brandon Schaefer
Mistakes I made in this session: in this session my guest Brandon Schaefer’s microphone was not strong enough so my audience couldn’t hear him well. Learning point: always do a test call!
The Fourth Session: WordPress Plugins with Ashley Faulkes
Mistakes I made in this session: this is probably the worst mistake I’ve made! I had myself ‘blueboxed’ the whole time. This means I had selected my thumbnail video, so the whole time the audience was only seeing myself, and not Ashley. How embarrassing! I’m just glad I didn’t pick my nose – or did I?!
The Fifth Session: Google Hangouts with Mark Vang
Mistakes I made in this session: out of all of them this is probably the best session. No technical glitches, good lighting… So you see, practice really does help!
So, is Your Small Business Ready For Google Hangouts on Air?
What do you think? Will you embrace the new technology available to us and use Google Hangouts in your business? Let me know in the comments below.
If you’d like to know about future hangouts I host, make sure you add me to your circles.